tv Benghazi Events CSPAN December 10, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EST
he -- they had the whole undercover operation with doc market run out of pittsburgh, that didn't matter. people got arrested in his crew in los angeles and they rolled and they knew him personally and where his operation was in california. they brought us to him. right? so that model doesn't work in this space entirely because -- and you have with the internet, you have the ability to take away the human interaction which minimizes your risk. language is a barrier, a countermeasure, right? we talk about russians and threat actors, but if i don't speak russian, potentially that could be a countermeasure that russian speaking criminals could use to alleviate anybody from accessing their infrastructure. and having access to the things they do i think it's important to, you know, when you talk about the organized crime model, right, in this space they have tried it. people have tried it and it doesn't always work. >> well, we have reached the end of our time.
i want to thank the panelists. i think it was an interesting discussion, and look forward to having many more today. thank you very much. and we're live on capitol hill this thursday morning as -- this wednesday morning as the house select committee on benghazi will hear testimony on the 2012 attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya. greg starr will appear before the committee again today. and in testimony last september for the same committee he encouraged law enforcements to give the state department extra funding to increase embassy security. now, also testifying today we expect to hear from steve linick, the inspector general at the state department. as this hearing gets under way
again, we are awaiting the start of this house select committee on benghazi attack hearings to get under way. the committee expected to gavel in in a couple of moments. this a follow-up to the hearing, the first hearing that happened on september 17th. investigating the implementation of the accountability review board's recommendations. the witnesses we expect to hear from today, greg starr who is the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security and steve linick, inspector general of the state department. we expect this hearing to get under way in a moment, live here on c-span 3. the senate gavelled in a couple of minutes ago. lawmakers are working on $577 billion bill for defense programs next year, authorizing funding for the war on isis, which includes money to train syrian rebels and the afghan army and new provisions on sexual assault in the military.
once again the house select committee on benghazi will hear on diplomatic security in the 2012 attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya. this is a follow-up to the first hearing which happened last september. you just saw the chair of the committee walk in, congressman trey gowdy. so we expect this will get underway in a moment. and as the hearing commences, we'll be looking for your comments throughout the day, asking should more resources be put toward diplomatic security? go to our facebook page at
>> well, once again we're live on capitol hill waiting for the start of this house select committee on benghazi. in the chair right there, congressman trey gowdy of south carolina. he appears to be waiting for some of the democrats to show up on this committee to get it under way. this committee is investigating the attack on the u.s. embassy in benghazi, libya, that happened in 2012. it's the follow-up to a hearing
held by the committee back in september on the 17th on the same issue. we expect it to start any moment now and also, again, looking for your comments should more resources be put toward diplomatic security? leave your comments on the facebook page facebook.com/c-span. and on twitter #c-span chat. some of the other members are arriving so it looks like it could start any moment now. elijah cummings.
>> i want to welcome everyone. i want to apologize to our two witnesses and to everyone else who's been waiting. just blame me for the delay. that would be the quickest and easiest thing to do. i'll do my best to start on time henceforth. this is hearing number two, reviewing efforts to secure u.s. department diplomatic facilities and personnel. the committee will come to order. chairman notes a quorum for taking testimony pursuant to the
appropriate house resolution number and house rule number, i want to recognize myself for the opening statement. in september of 2012, four of our fellow americans were killed and others were injured in an attack on our facility in benghazi, libya. shawn smith, tyrone woods, glenn doherty and ambassador chris stevens died under circumstances most of us can not fathom. fire, violence, the weaponry of war. i want to read something and i want to ask my colleagues to listen to what i read. not just to the words but i want you to imagine having to live through or die through the experience. on september the 11th, 2012, at 9:45 p.m., 20 or more armed menace sellabled outside the u.s. embassy. several al-sharia members had been identified among the group. the initial attackers were armed with ak-47 rifles, rocket propel grenade launchers.
buildings within the mission were set on fire. the fire set during the attack led to the deaths of ambassador christopher stevens and shawn smith and the remaining state personnel -- state department personnel escaped to the annex which came under attack which continued throughout the early morning hours of september 12, culminating in a mortar attack that killed tyrone woods and glenn doherty. what i just read is the now official position of the u.s. government. filed in u.s. district court by the department of justice in a motion to detain the one defendant who has been captured and will stand trial. 20 or more men, the weapons of war, arson, sustained attacks, precision mortars, terrorist groups, it is interesting to note the use of the word terrorist, so rarely used in the days and weeks after benghazi by people in positions of power is
now the very word used in the very statute charging the very defendant accused of killing our four fellow americans. conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists resulting in death. that's the charge. that is the official charge, the official position of the united states government. but in the days after the attack in benghazi, the word terrorist was edited out and changed. now the administration uses the word attack. in the days after the attack of benghazi, the administration edited out and changed the word attack. it's one thing to have it wrong initially and eventually get it right. it's another thing to have it right initially and then edit it and change it so that it is wrong. i remain keenly aware that there are those on both sides of the aisle who have concluded that all questions have been answered. there's nothing left to do.
no more witnesses to talk to. no more documents to review. it is worth noting that some of those very same folks did not think that benghazi should have been looked at in the first place. but i disagree. i do not think we should move on until there is a complete understanding of how the security environment described by our own government in court documents was allowed to exist. i don't think we should move on until we understand why we were told special precautions had been taken prior to the anniversary of 9/11. what precautions were taken? where? by whom? why were we told that benghazi facility was secure? why were we told it was a strong security presence in benghazi when we now know that was false? and it wasn't true at the time it was said. we should not move on until
there's a complete understanding of why requests for additional security were denied. by whom they were denied, and why an ambassador trusted to represent us in a dangerous land wasn't trusted to know what security he needed to do his job. it's been two years. and we know the requests for additional equipment and personnel were denied but we don't have a full understanding of why they were not denied and we should not move on until there's a complete understanding. of that and why the official position of our government is so different today. than it was in the days and the weeks of benghazi. the facts hasn't changed but the way that our government characterizes benghazi has changed a lot. this hearing will continue our committee's efforts to ensure the recommendations made after the attacks on benghazi were
actually implemented and i will pledge again a process worthy of the memory of the four who were killed and worthy of the respect of our fellow citizens. but i also pledge that we're going to keep asking questions until we have a complete understanding of what happened. to that end we will have hearings, in january, in february, in march and until and that means access to all the documents and that means access to all of the witnesses with knowledge. this committee will be the last best hope for answering the questions surrounding the attacks in benghazi. we may actually wind up answering some of the questions more than once. we may risk answering a question twice. that seems like a really small investment compared with what others have given and are currently giving. to our country. with that i would recognize the gentleman from maryland.
>> thank you, very much, for holding today's hearing as well as our previous hearing three months ago on this topic which was proposed by congressman. these two hearings demonstrate the continued commitment of both democrats and republicans to make our embassies safe. as i have often said, this is our watch. this is not about today or tomorrow. this is about generations yet unborn. and so we all take this assignment very seriously. over the course of 18 months of exhaustive investigations, first by the independent accountability review board and then by seven congressional
committees, we've learned many answers to questions about what happened in benghazi and what changes are needed to improve security at our diplomatic facilities overseas. but as we have also seen, when it comes to benghazi, too many people are unaware that questions have been answered or are unwilling to accept the answers they hear. our benghazi on record asked and answered website centralizes in one place these answers. since we met last, the house permanent select committee on intelligence publicly released its bipartisan, unanimously adopted report. as our intelligence committee colleagues explained and i quote, this report and the nearly two years of intensive
investigation it reflects is meant to serve as the definitive house statement on the intelligence committee's activities before, during and after tragic events that caused the deaths of four brave americans, end of quote. these bipartisan findings join the previous inclusions of the republican-led house armed services committee about the military's readiness and responses on the night of the attacks. our committee's democratic members have urged the charge to review and accept these findings as we do not think that there is any reason for this committee to reinvestigate these facts. repeat the work already completed by our republican and
democratic colleagues, and squander millions of hard working dollars that come from hard working taxpayers. we appreciate that the chairman has decided to use this hearing to focus on constructive reform. and instead retreading the same ground that other committees have already investigated. investigated in a way that perhaps one would investigate something if they were looking at it under a high-powered microscope. we urge him to keep his focus on the constructive efforts and not be lured off this path by partisan politics. we're bigger than that and we are better than that. and i appreciate you, mr. chairman, for our discussions where you have agreed by the end of the year to give us a scope as to exactly what we will be looking at and hopefully we will
be able to come to conclusions about what we do agree on, so that we can focus on the things that we still need to investigate. i also appreciate the fact that you have agreed to meet with me and the speaker tomorrow with regard to rules of the committee. i think you and i agree it's nice to have structure because it helps us to deal with issues that may come up. and i do -- i do really appreciate that. immediately after the benghazi attacks, the independent accountability review board conducted a blistering examination of what went wrong at the state department and identified 29 -- 29 recommendations for reform. secretary clinton accepted every single one of them. and inspector general reported and i quote, the department wasted no time addressing the recommendations, end of quote. during our first hearing, three months ago, assistant secretary starr testified that the department had closed 22 of the
arbs 29 recommendations. since then, the department has continued making steady progress and i'm pleased to hear that. it has closed three more recommending as and continues to make progress on the remaining four. the department has now delivered fire safety equipment to all but one high-threat post. and it has affirmed compliance with fire safety and equipment requirements in safe havens and safe areas in overseas facilities. the department has now delivered fire safety equipment to all but one high-threat post. and it has affirmed compliance with fire safety equipment requirements and safe havens. the arb found that the lack of adequate safety equipment may have contributed to the tragic consequences that night. so i'm heartened to hear that the department has completed this recommendation since our
last meeting. the department has also closed the recommendation for increasing diplomatic security staffing to address the staffing shortcomings identified by the arb. starr's -- mr. starr's testimony indicating that the new positions are fully funded, and that the department intends to complete all of the remaining new hires by early 2015. the department also has instituted mandatory threat training for high-risk posts and created a working group to develop joint risk management forces, further addressing shortcomings at the arb identified with regard to the training and expertise of the department personnel. i anxiously look forward to hearing more from mr. starr on the work that remains to be done. we also are joined today by inspector general linick.
in a september 2013 report, his office made seven security related recommendations that overlapped to a large degree with the arbs recommendations. i was heartened to hear that six of these recommendations are now closed. concerns remain, however, including lingering questions about whether the department has made sufficient changes to ensure that the department bureaus are communicating effectively and decision making authority is centralized and clear. regarding the arb process, the inspector general's office examined the 12 arbs convene following the 1998 east africa embassy bombings through 2012 benghazi attacks. they concluded that the arb process and i quote operated as intended independently and without bias to identify vulnerabilities in the department of state's security programs.
this inspector general nonetheless recommended adjustments to the process and it's my understanding that the discussions on those recommendations are ongoing. as i close, one of these recommendations was for the department to amend the foreign affairs manual to institutionize responsibility for arb implementation. as the inspector general's report noted and i quote, handling of benghazi arb recommendations represented a significant departure from the previous norm in that secretary clinton took charge directly of oversight for the implementation process. the inspector general found that the high level attention devoted to this this task and i quote, establishes a model for how the department should handle future arb recommendations. i'm interested in hearing from mr. starr as to whether the department has made the
recommended change. and to that end, i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman from ma maryland. the first witness is honorable greg b. starr from the department of state. the second witness will be the honorable steve linick, the inspector general for the department of state. welcome to both of you and again my apologies for you having to wait on me. you will be recognized for if five minute openings. there's a lights and what they mean in life. with that, secretary starr. >> thank you, chairman gowdy, ranking member cummings and distinguished committee members. thank you for inviting me again to update you on the state department's progress in implementing the recommendations made by the independent benghazi accountability review board and i'll refer to that in the future as the arb. i want to acknowledge steve linick. inspector linick works closely with the diplomatic security on
many issues some of which the committee has highlighted for discussion though. although i'm focused primarily on the benghazi arb today i hope to provide some insights into how the department works to ultimately improve security around the world. the task of keeping u.s. personnel overseas safe is dynamic and an ever-evolving process. we work constantly to improve our practices and protekt our people. the arb process is an important tool towards that goal and to y today, we are safer and more secure because of the recommendations of the benghazi panel and other arbs. our progress on the benghazi arb is measurable and sustained and importantly, many of the lessons learned are further incorporated into policy. of the 29 recommendations, we have now closed 25 of them. that includes three that we have closed since september, my last
testimony, based on further work and analysis. we are committed to finishing that work, yet to do so on the final four recommendations and will not lose sight of continuing and building on the security and procedural improvements that have been instituted. i would like to highlight just a few examples of what we have done to improve our security posture since the attacks in benghazi. these are specific tangible changes. we have more diplomatic security and department of defense personnel on the ground at our facilities today. we have increased the skills and competencies for diplomatic security agents by increasing the training time. we have expanded the foreign affairs counterthreat force behind high threat posts because we recognize the value of the skills extends to all foreign service personnel and other employees at our posts overseas. these are skills that people can take them with to make us safer and make them safer in every post they're at. there are broader, more
problematic changes. one which i discussed in september is the launch of the vital presence validation process or short hand for that is vp-2. through vp-2 the state department asks itselves hard questions to balance the risks and benefits and the end result is a clear eyed risk assessment of whether the u.s. should operate in those dangerous locations and if so, how do we operate? where the process determines that u.s. national interests require us to operate at dangerous posts, the department undertakes measures to mitigate identified risks and prioritizes resources to do do. the steps we have taken to implement the benghazi arb implementations underscores an important point. we live in a world with more unstable and dangerous locati s locations. our foreign policy often demands that we send our people to work in those very places that are increasingly perilous. we cannot eliminate risk.
the threats evolve. as a result, the work of securing our facilities and safeguarding our people is never complete. we are committed to implementing the arbs recommendations but we are also committed to looking forward to meeting the new challenges and threats as they develop. our best assets in this effort are our people. our highly trained foreign service officers and security personnel are out in the field every day, executing u.s. foreign policy. they deserve the credit and thanks for the work that they do on our behalf. it's our job to do everything we can to reduce the risks they face. as the assistant secretary for diplomatic security, i'm committed to keeping our people as safe as possible. i know the committee -- i know that the committee as well as the inspectors general office shares our commitment in making that true. keeping our people as safe as possible. with that, mr. charge, i'd be happy to answer questions in
front of the committee about the implementation of the arb. >> thank you, mr. starr. mr. linick? >> chairman gowdy, ranking member cummings and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify regarding our review of the arb process and associated work we have conducted in recent years on security-related matters. since the september 2012 attacks on u.s. diplomatic facilities and personnel in benghazi the oig has redoubled the efforts, oversight efforts related to security, issuing inspection and audit reports and targeting security matters. in addition to that work we inspect posts across the globe and we review security related matters at each one. i will address the arb process and discuss the findings based on the other security related work. in september 2013, oig published the report on the accountability review process. the process by which the departments' arbs are
established, supported the staff and conducted. and it tracks the implementation of our implementation. we found that follow through on long term security program improvements, training and intelligence sharing lacks sustained oversight by the department's principals. the lack of follow through explains in part why a number of arb recommendations mirror a previous arb implementation. it works best when the secretary of state and other department principals take full ownership of the implementation process. oig special review made 20 formal recommendations and in may of 2014, i notified the deputy secretary of state of the status of those recommendations. and i provided additional suggestions and intended to enhance the effectiveness of the arb process. although some of our recommendations related to the special review and my later suggestions remained unresolved at this time, oig has found
evidence that the department has made progress in addressing some of the security concerns. during fiscal year 2015, we will be conducting a formal follow-up review on compliance with our own recommendations and with benghazi arb recommendations. in addition to the arb review process, oig has issued a variety of reports covering significant security matters. i take this opportunity to highlight four areas of concern. the first relates to physical security deficiencies. oig reports demonstrates that the department is at increased risk because it lacks sufficient processes of planning to ensure that the department fully understands the security needs at posts around the world. if the department cannot identify security vulnerabilities it cannot adequately plan, budget for or implement solutions. in 2012, oig conducted a series of audits of posts located in europe, latin america, africa, which identified physical security deficiencies at nine
embassies and one consulate that required immediate attention. a number were designated high threat. oig auditors found that the posts were not in compliance with the security standards. security deficiencies common among the posts included among others the failure to meet minimum compound perimeter requirements and to conduct inspections of vehicles entering the posts. the most egregious problems have identified in recent -- been identified in recent inspections is the use of warehouse space and other remote facilities for offices which do not comply with standards and places personnel at great risk. the second area of concerns is exceptions in waivers granted from compliance and security standards. oig has found a number of overseas posts had not maintained accurate exception and waiver records. in addition, oig found that the bureau of diplomatic security was not monitoring posts to determine whether they were obtaining waivers and exceptions for deviations from standards.
the department has reported that it has remediated that condition at this time. the third area of concern involves stovepiping of security issues although the bureaus of diplomatic security share responsibility for ensuring posts physical security needs they don't adequately coordinate. the fourth issue of concern relates to vetting of local guards. ds oversees the local guard forces at the department of missions overseas. they typically are posted outside or inside the perimeter of the embassy compound and are responsible for searching vehicles, et cetera. we conducted an audit and recognized that none of the six reviewed by oig fully performed the vetting procedures specified. one bad actor with the right position and access can seriously endanger the safety and security of personnel
overseas. in conclusion, i want to thank my staff for their professionalism and commitment to this effort. i look forward to continuing to engage with the department and congress over the matters in an effort to mitigate risk and avoid future incidents like the attacks that occurred in benghazi. chairman gowdy and ranking member cummings and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. the chair recognizes ms. brooks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you both for appearing here today and for your service to our country. as the inspector general mr. linick and all inspector generals for all agencies would it be correct to say that generally you are charged with ensuring that in this case that the state department is effectively managed and accountable for its decisions? is that what inspector generals do? >> yes. >> and you conduct audits, we have heard you talk about audits, the way that the
inspector generals do that, they conduct inspections and audits and you have mentioned some of those, is that correct? >> yes. we look at programs and operations as well. >> so you're or internal police department for an agency and for the state department specifically? >> yes. >> but you are not appointed by the secretary of state, is that correct? >> no, i was appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate. >> and when were you appoint? >> i was appointed in september of 2013. >> so that means actually you have complete independence, don't you, from the state department and the decisions they make? >> yes, we are independent. >> and before that i understand, like myself, you were a federal prosecutor, focused on fraud types of matters. >> i was for 16 years. >> and in your finding that you undertook of the arb, it's my understanding that you felt, and
this is quoting, your most important finding was that the oversight of the arb recommendations must be at the highest levels within the department, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and at what highest level were you referring to? is. >> at least at the deputy secretary level? >> and in your opinion, is that where this implementation of the arb recommendation stands at this point? >> that remaineded an unresolved recommendation. redid receive revisions yesterday, and we are looking at them now. >> and so the recommendation -- and that recommendation was made by the ig that, in fact, the foreign affairs manual should specifically state to other employees of the department that these recommendations would be undertaken by the -- at a minimum -- secretary of state, or the highest levels. the principles like the deputy
secretary. correct? >> that's correct. >> and you stateded they provided that to you yesterday. >> yes, we did receive a vision to the foreign affairs manual, but we have not analyzed it yet. so the recommendation remains unresol unresolved. >> so let's talk about unresolved or closed findings. when the inspector general makes recommendations and brings forth their findings, they're in several categories, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> unresolved, closed, resolved. >> exactly. >> can you share with us what unresolved means? >> so, there's really two buckets. there's open recommendations and closed recommendations. open recommendations can either come in two forms. they can be resolved or unresolved. so if the department agrees in principle with a recommendation, that will be open and resolved. it will not be closed until the department proves to us, because we're in the trust and verify business that it in fact has been implemented.
an open recommendation which is unresolved means generally the department disagrees with the oig, and we don't have resolution on that. so it remains open as well. >> can i just ask -- and sorry to interrupt, approximately how many open and unresolved recommendations are there? >> in the arb report? >> at this time there are seven unresolved recommendations. like i said, a couple of them, that might change. we're actually going and doing another inspection to see whether or not our recommendations actually have been complied with. >> is that common practice, that you always do compliance reviews of your recommendations? >> we don't always do that. it's very resource intensive. typically what would happen is the department would come back
and say here's documentation showing we implemented your recommendation and we would close it. the compliance follow-up review is a different animal. we actually do a completely separate inspection or audit and do interviews and test whether or not implementation has occurred. it's not something we do frequently. we do it in cases where we believe the recommendations are significa significant, or where we felt that compliance was lacking. >> and do you also when you go back and do the compliance review, do you look into recommendations that have been closed? >> yes, we look at all of the recommendations from soup to nuts to see where they stand. so just because we closed them because we have documentation, we're going to go behind that documentation and verify whether in fact it has been implemented. >> are you aware as to not prior inspector generals did what
you're doing with respect to compliance reviews when it comes to physical security of our embassies? >> i believe our office has done some compliance follow-up reviews. >> but is it fair to say a number of the recommendations in the the benghazi arb were also in the nairobi arb? >> oh, absolutely. we did see a number of repeat recommendations, from training to enhance the marine guard program, to sharing and so forth. >> so there have obviously been previous arbs where recommendations were made. where the state department closed or agreed with the recommendations, but yet we still had the same problem. >> that's correct. >> -- in 2012. >> that's correct. >> and so respect to the closed, there are a number of closed recommendations, what do you expect to happen -- what does closed mean? you've talked about open and unresolved. what do closed recommendations mean? >> close ed recommendations mea
they provided documentation to us to prove they've complied with the recommendation. in the compliance follow-up review we will interview and look more closely and drill down to see whether or not it is, in fact, closed. so close d is a preliminary conclusion, if you will, about the status of the recommendation. >> and when would you make the decision on whether something is closed or unclosed? >> we would make that decision after our follow-up team, we have a special team that reviews the documentation and then determines whether that documentation meets the intent of our recommendation. >> but as late of june of 2014, in fact, you just mentioned physical security deficiencies, exceptions in waivers, stove piping and vetting of local guards are still unresolved, and so are not closed. >> those -- those were recommendations from other
reports. in other words, so we've done the arb review, and we focused on process. and we've focused on how they implemented the arb recommendations. but we've issueded a number of other reports which capture lack of compliance with standards, which capture inadequate vetting of lowe call guards. and there's a whole bunch more recommendations in connection with those reports, and they're at various stages of closure, et cetera. >> the best practices panel most important recommendation. you're familiar with the best practices panel, which happened after the arb, are you not? >> i am indeed. >> in fact, it too indicated that elevating the importance of security and making diplomatic security an equal partner was its most important recommendation. is that correct? >> i believe that was recommendation number one. >> and yet we learned at that time, at our last hearing, that
the state department rejected that recommendation. has there been a change from our last hearing to today? >> well, we're not monitoring compliance with that recommendation, so i don't know the answer to that question. >> do you know, with respect to this exact recommendation, and that is the fact that we believe and that panels have made the recommendation that, in fact, all of the implementation of the various recommendations of the arb should be made at one of the highest levels. these are the principles, is that correct and the oversight of the implementation is being made in the office of managing and right sizing. is that correct? >> i believe they have tracking the implementation of it. yeah. >> and that's what mr. starr said. and so tracking just means, is it being done. is that correct? >> we think that the deputy
secretary ought to take responsibility for oversight of the implementation that she take responsibility for making sure that those recommendations are followed through, that there's sufficient funding to ensure that they're completed, and that they're adequately shared among the state department communities. everybody knows what they are, why they're important. that's what we're seeking with our particular recommendation. >> and do you know who at the state department at the time that they rejected that recommendation, and that recommendation was rejected, do you know who at the state department made that decision to reject that recommendation? >> the sullivan recommendation or our recommendation? >> both. the recommendation to reject that the the deputy secretary should be the level responsible for implementing all of these recommendations. >> as to the sullivan recommendation, i don't know who, if anyone, rejected that. i know the deputy secretary is
considering our recommendations, and in fact, i believe there's a revision to the foreign affairs manual, which apparently does embody that. but we haven't closed that yet because we haven't had the opportunity to analyze and assess it. >> and mr. starr, do you know who made that decision at that time? >> i don't believe that there was a decision not to comply without recommendation. two things, congresswoman. one, it was the secretary himself who ultimately decided that we did not need the undersecretary after consideration through various levels of the department. in terms of the implementation of the arb, the paperwork that we have put forward to modify does show that it is the deputy secretary for management and resources who will be the oversight officer for arbs, and if you would permit me just for a second, while this is a
change, i have been in multiple meetings since the arrival of the deputy secretary. and i was in multiple meetings before hands when tom nibes was the secretary, when the secretary was taking direct charge of the oversight of the implementation. the fact that the managed npri group is the staff that is tracking them and then bringing these up and presenting them to the deputy secretary, and then we've had multiple meetings where myself, and major embassy officers from the all the bureaus. the deputy secretary heading the meeting, plus npri, plus ct, plus the other bureau have been in these. so it's very clear that the deputy secretary in our highest levels have been involved in the implementation in the arb. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. but i would like to add, it's about time.
thank you. >> i thank the gentle lady from indiana. the chair will recognize the gentle lady from california, miss sanchez. >> thank you. i want to thak thank both witnesses for being here today. i want to follow up on this line of question with respect to the physical embassy and mission facilities. two of the past arb recommendations that remained open, if i'm not mistaken, are from the 1999 nairobi and arbs. and in those arbs they recommended that physical security upgrades be made immediately, and that state work obtain sufficient funding for building programs, because that was a need that was identified. and as a result of those recommendations, the capital security cost sharing program was initiated to pay for the cost of building new embassies and consulates. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> okay. with funding constraints and other challenges, delaying
efforts to better secure its facilities, how is the state department addressing the need to provide necessary security at this point? >> congresswoman, thank you for the question. congress has been extraordinarily generous with the department. since the nairobi bombings in 1998, we have constructed nearly a hundred new facilities around the world. we have done major security upgrades to our facilities around the the world that we could not replace right at that moment. there is not a post out there that doesn't have vehicle bars and gates, does not have guard programs, police protecting it, forced entry doors and windows, shatter resistant window film. now after benghazi, additional marines, additional rsos. we have been committed since, quite frankly, since 1985, in increasing the programs. i think the funding that we
originally got under the capital cost sharing program was about $1 billion a year. and by to 2012-2013, instead of the original eight facilities we were building a year, we were building perhaps one or two, perhaps three, because of inflation costs. after benghazi, congress was again very generous with the department and has authorized almost another billion dollars, and we are now again on an enhanced building program, building about six or seven new facilities a year. so i would say that while that recommendation remained open technically, the department with the help of congress has done an amazing job in enhancing the safety and security of our people over the years. i will not say that it's perfect. clearly i'm here, and my job is to implement reforms after benghazi and lessons that we've learned. we've made mistakes there. but for the vast majority of
places, i would tell you that the recommendations that came out of the nairobi bombings and the arbs for those, we have been trying to implement those and congress has been very helpful. >> could you give me an idea, mr. starr. because it's a big job to go back and renovate facilities and bring them to modern security standards. could you estimate how many facilities that you have to deal with in firms of assessing the physical security of those buildings? ballpark figure? >> there are 275 u.s. embassies, consulates and consulate gene l genera generals. there are approximately ten other special missions. the facilities that make up those missions number over a thousand different buildings. >> that's quite an undertaking then, to consistently be upgrading their security. would that be a fair statement? >> i think that's a fair statement. >> now the benghazi arb found that the state department must
work with congress to restore the capital security cost sharing program at its full capacity. can you talk a little bit about the history of the funding and why congress needed to restore to the full level, the capital security cautionary? >> thank you, congresswoman. as i alluded to just a moment ago, the original costs coming out were approximately $1.3 billion level a year. and in 1999, in 2000 and 2001 as we geared up the program, that gave us the ability to replace six, seven, eight, sometimes nine facilities a year, or individual buildings at least, and do some major security upgrades. but that funding level was constant from about 2000 until about 2012, and increased building costs, inflation and other things have reduced what we could do with that $1.3
billion. so we were hopeful and, as i say, congress was veryrr genero in recognizing that that number had been eroded by inflation, and after benghazi and i think in line with the arb recommendation, worked with the department, and added nearly another billion dollars to that. we're currently at approximately $2.3 billion under capital cost sharing program per year. which has allowed us to do more security enhancements and replace more unsecure facilities. >> thank you, it's important to note that congress does play a role in making sure that these facilities are physically sec e secure. i would also like to ask you about temporary facilities. during our previous hearing, a number of members had questions about the diplomatic facility in benghazi, whether it was a special mission compound or
temporary mission facility, and whether it meant less stringent security standards applieded to that facility. that issue was investigated by the arb and numerous congressional committees over the past two years. in the last hearing you addressed this concern explaining, and i'm going to quote from your testimony, whether it's temporary or interim or permanent that we should be applying the same security standards that the ospb has put in place. is that still your understanding of how the department is applying these standards today? >> yes. that is a very hard lesson that we learned after benghazi. i can tell you that in one particular location in the world, i won't say where we have had to have operations, where we were under great pressure to put people in and establish a temporary facility, i turneded that down. and said that we will continue to operate solely on a tdy basis until such time as we can identify a facility and bring it
up to the necessary level of security in order to declare it a facility, ie, meeting the ospb standards if that type of facili facility. i got no pushback and in fact got a tremendous amount of support for this. i think you've correctly identified that the benghazi, whatever you call it, the temporary facility or the special mission facility, despite efforts to do security upgrades to it, we know that it did not meet all the standards, and we want to avoid a situation like that going forward. >> i just want top point out that mr. linick in his written testimony noted on a march 2014 audit on physical security funding that diplomatic security and the overseas building operation bureau have differing interpretations of what the required physical security standards are for the overseas facilities and the same aig reports notes in january of 2013 the department clarified a
single is standard applies to all facilitiefacilities. in june 2013 the department further clarified the ospb standard set forth the minimum requirements. has there been better communication now between the department and the diplomatic security and overseas building operations and finally a sort of agreed upon standard for what the physical standards should be? >> there is no disagreement on what the physical security standard should be. those standards are in our foreign i fairs manual and handbooks. they're approved by the overseas security board. and there is no disgreapt on the standards. we do have different standards for let's say a stand-alone building or a building in, or an office that's in tentative commercial office space. but obo is very clear and understands what those standards are there are no
misunderstanding what they are and that there are there. i do think the inspections have been very helpful to us in many ways, although sometimes i will disagree with some of the recommendations and as steve alluded to, we have some open recommendations where we may disagree. ultimately we come to resolution on the vast majority of them. in terms of what the inspectors found in some of their reports, it is my job as the head of security when we find security deficiencies that the ig might find, to make sure that we're addressing them as fast as possible. and steve's inspectors are did find we had csignificant differences. i met two days after the inspector came back with the head of obo. we resolved those differences, and we moved on and settled the differen
differences and made sure we ) had#!vpsto go. my staff meets at lower levels with obo, and we've taken that recommendation very seriously. >> i appreciate your testimony, and i yield back. ft. >> thank the gentle lady from california. the chair will now recognize the gentleman from florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for being here. mr. starr, just a point of clarification, when they use the term closed on the recommendations, that does not mean they are completed, correct? i didn't know it was that hard a question. >> as steve alluded to. there is resolved. there's closed. we do our best when we get a recommendation to look at it. >> so closed does not mean the recommendation has fully been implemented, right? >> in most cases it does. it means that we have in fact affected the change necessary to meet that recommendation.
lt there are some recommendations that are evergreen recommendations. if you put the policies and procedures in place, they may go on for a longer period of time. >> thank you. you were the diplomatic security at the the state department from 1980 through your retirement in 2009, is that correct? >> yes, sir, i was an agent. >> and from then you went to head of security for united nations? >> correct, sir. and at the u.n., you were the undersecretary for safety and security, correct? >> yes, sir. >> it is true your office of diplomatic security and the bureau of overseas building operations or the obo, or the two offices within the state department that have the primary duty to ensure the safety and security of these overseas facilities? >> that's an accurate statement, sir. according to the foreign affairs manual, your office is expressly charged with responsibility for ensuring that all new
construction and major renovations comply with physical security standards, even though the obo does the actual construction. is that true? >> correct. >> and under which undersecretary is the ds? >> i serve -- i'm under secretary kennedy, the undersecretary for management. >> and who is the undersecretary? obo? >> yes. >> also. and then undersecretary for management, mr. kennedy has been in position since november of 2007, i believe. is that correct? you don't know? >> i believe so, sir. i'm not certain. >> has mr. di been with the state department as far as you know from the early '70s. >> i think pat came in about 1975. >> okay. when the east african embassies were bombed in 1998, mr. kennedy was in your position, is that correct?
>> at the time of the bombing, sir, my recommendation is that we had a vacancy in the position and he was the acting. >> okay. and although you returned to the state department after the benghazi attacks you are aware that will virtually each and every finding and resulting recommendation in benghazi arb centered on the special mission compound or facility being a high threat post, sorely lacking in personnel and physical security. is that correct? >> i'm aware of the recommendations, yes. >> are you aware that your own inspector general, mr. linick, since benghazi has conducted three reviews or audits at overseas posts? particularly in these high threat posts? >> yes, i am, sir. >> are you also aware the ig
issued two other reports, how they look at you manage your local guard program and another that looks at how you manage your marine security. >> yes, sir, i am. let's take a look at the the ig report issued in june of 2013 that looked at how you comply with the physical security standards at five specific overseas posts that are considered high threat. do you recall that report? >> yes, sir. >> as i understand it, that report only looked at embassies or consulates constructed after the year 2000, is that correct? >> i believe so, sir. >> so all built after the east african embassy bombings in 1998, where an arb was sharply critical of the then existing physical security standards. is that correctsome
is that correct? >> that means that they wereed secure embassy and construction counterterrorism act, as it's known, and gave the state department a whole lot of money to improve those physical securities overseas, is that correct? >> correct. >> so in this report, the i.g. team looked at physical security at the five posts. it had a high threat level. and the audit team looked at things such as the high perimeter walls, the outside boundary, how far the buildings were from those outside walls, looked at the barriers, the procedural, other barriers or
resistance doors. where where the local guards, as we talked about prior, were properly inspecting. whether there were safe havens in the building and the like, is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> so let me ask you how the five embassy or consulates did. did any of them comply with all the security standards that were reviewed? >> no, sir. none of them are perfect. but if i may, sir, every one of those facilities has police and guards on the outside. >> i understand. >> every one of those facilities -- >> my question was had all of them been met. >> no, sir, i want to make it clear, though, that most of the things that the inspector general found were minor, do not present major vulnerabilities to us. our philosophy of concentric ring securities. and i don't expect any inspector general going out, any team, not going to find some things that can be improved.
>> i understand. but your answer was no, correct? >> correct, sir. now the overseas post in question. once the problems were identified, took some sort of action to correct all the deficienci deficiencies, but you said they were small deficienciedeficienc. is that correct? >> in relation to what vulnerabilities they posed, yes, sir. >> so at least at some of the posts, those problems have been fixed. is that correct? >> it is my job to make sure that any time we see one of these vulnerabilities -- >> are they fixed? >> yes, they are. they're resolved. >> did the inspector general ask that you issue a districtive to all your posts worldwide to see whether other posts have the same problems? >> for some things, yes. >> okay. did you agree to do this? >> no, i did not. >> okay. mr. linick, i want to follow up on another review of the
physical security related post. i understand your office hired an outside company to review how the state department processes these requests and prioritizes requests for these physical security upgrades. >> yes, sir. >> when the auditors looked at this, did they find a comprehensive list of all these reports? >> they didn't find a comprehensive list of security needs and request for security needs at posts around the world. >> so they didn't find a list of what may have been called in or asked for. >> they did not find it. >> okay. >> were the auditors able to review a list of these funding requests or lists of which requests were denied or granted? >> there wasn't a list. >> so there was no list. >> no. >> from d.s., no list? >> we did not find a comprehensive list of security.
>> obo? no list? >> no. but i understand that they're working on that now. >> okay. is it true that the auditors found that the ds and the obo do not coordinate with each other to determine which should be given priority? >> they did find that in two respects. one, there was disagreements about the standards, which has since been remediated, which mr. starr mentioneded. >> so the fact that mr. starr and obo get together once a week or once a month or whatever it is, they still not come up with any of these lists that could be combined to be looked at? >> i don't believe we have seen a comprehensive list, but i'm not entirely sure of that. i would have to get back to you. >> do you know of any
comprehensive lists that may have been moved into long-term planning for the future security of the requests that's been made from these posts? >> i know the department has agreed to do it, and so that recommendation has been resolved, but it is still open. >> thank you. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank the gentleman from georgia. we're going to now try to go to the gentleman from washington, mr. smith. >> thank you, mr. chairman. can everybody hear me? >> yes, sir. >> great, thank you. i really appreciate your flexibility for this. i appreciate the opportunity to attend this hearing. just a couple of questions. first of all, and i think one of the allegations is that we've had attacks on our state department or there have been
repor reports. i don't think that's quite accurate. i think there have been actually really significant improvements from these previous attacks. [inaudible] -- in africa. you know, what improvements have been made? what responses were made to improve our state department's ability? >> adam, i may get you to act like you're mad and yell a little bit. i think the witnesses -- we can hear you pretty good, but not great. if you could just act like we're talking and you're yelling at me. >> craig, you need me to repeat what i just asked? >> yes, sir, i think the witnesses are kind of leaning forward? if you could yell it as loud as you're willing to do it, adam? >> i will do that.
my question was, there have been attacks, and one of the allegations to some extent is that after those attacks, like the embassy bombing in africa they, you know, issued a report and went to ground hog's day. we don't make improvements. we don't respond. in my reading of what has happened since some of those previous attacks, i don't believe that is accurate. i was just wondering if you could outline, just one example from the 1998 embassy bombings in africa, what improvements were made as a result of the study of that problem. how much more money was spent? how were the facilities upgraded? what has been done prior to benghazi to improve security at our overseas buildings? >> congressman, thank you for the question. this is greg starr. i recognize that there are some
similarities in the types of recommendations that were made going back through the years on arbs. but, like you, find it difficult to accept the premise that it is ground hog day, that we're just revisiting the same things. as i said before, a tremendous amount of progress was made through the years in building new facilities, in training different personnel, in adding local guard programs. much of this work was done in concert with congress. congress has been very helpful in many ways in terms of funding and oversight. from 1988 to 1992 after the original ingman commission we built 22 new facilities. then after the end of the cold war, the money sort of dried up and ran out, even though we wanted to build nearly 100 after the bombings in 1998, the money
flow for building new embassies was given to us by congress very generously, and we've replaced a tremendous amount of facilities. we've never had to give up one of those new facilities that we've built yet. i think the increases that we've done in training for personnel, additional marine detachments, things like more armored cars, and the things that we've done after benghazi, the better and much closer relationships with the intelligence community and d.o.d. i think some of those things you can say, well, weren't you doing those things, you know, after nairobi? and there are some similarities. but i think the types of things that we're facing are similar as well, and i think we're going to see similar types of attacks, and you may get the -- even in the future, the need for more training than we're doing now.
so i appreciate @ comments. i believe like you do, that while there may be some similarities, this is n not groundhog day. we have made significant process since nairobi. there are very few arb recommendations through all of the arbs that have been left open, and the few that are open, we're still working to close. >> thank you for the question, sir. >> one of the big issues about benghazi, not all state department facilities are the same. when we think of our state department presence overseas, most people typically imagine our embassy, the main facility. as everybody knows, we have a number of different facilities where people are located throughout the country. the most dangerous places i went to was the where we have a consulate in pakistan a few years back. very dangerous place. very high security. now when you're determining what
security to provide, you go to these temporary mission facilities, or to the consulates and specific to libya and the two facilities attacked, how would they have fallen under the new rules after some of these other attacks in terms of understanding how to properly provide security for two facilities, likes the ones in benghazi, which were not traditional or consulates for that matter? is this something that had been contemplated previously? and if so, what was the discussion about how to properly provide security for these different types of facilities? >> unfortunately, sir, i'm at a little bit of a loss as one of the congressman has pointed out, thil those discussions were taking place on what was going to happen for benghazi, i was at the united nations. i do know that we have all accepted the recommendations from the arb that perhaps there
is a little too much confidence. in the chief of mission and what he was saying, that we know that we did not meet all of the ospb standards when for either of those two locations, either special annex or special mission. i know we are concentrating on learning the lessons for that. we have no temporary facilities today that don't -- and no temporary facilities at all. and should we have to have those types of facilities, we will have a very long, hard discussion about what needs to go into them and make sure they're as safe as possible before we let them be occupied. i'm at a little bit of a loss. i can't comment on things happening when i'm not here, sir. >> and we're talking about two other huge issues when it comes to providing security at our overseas facility. number one is money. particularly at this point.
and i might also add, particularly at precisely the moment that benghazi was attacked. i don't imagine that there have been too many times in the history of our country, when we had as many facilities throughout the globe that could not have been ser sooefed as to be at a high threat level. first of all, it was the anniversary of 9/11. second of all, we had already in the days prior had riots and attacks on embassies. and i forget how many different countries. . i certainly know in cairo why the embassy was attacked and i think somewhere close to a dozen others we had that. the number one issue, and i'll mention them both, number one issue is simple resources. in a world full of incredibly dangerous places, how do you decide how to properly allocate the resources between a benghazi and a cairo and yemen, all of
those different places? congress, as you said, has been generous after the previous attacks. but there's still sfinite resources, number one. how do you make those decisions when there's so many places to attack? enthe second is quite differently the chief of mission, we'll disagree. he'll go where folks back in washington, d.c. have said he or she should not. there are many, many members in the state department out in other countries who feel their hands are being tied. i've heard this pointed out from a large number of state department people, referring to it as the benghazi effect, that they can no longer do their job because we've gone back the other way. so those are two very difficult issues. resources and then the conflict between a member of the state department out in a foreign
country, trying to do his or her job for security. how did those two things get balanced throughout the the state department and throughout all of your security? >> adam, before they answer. this is trey. there's less than an minute on the clock, but given the technical difficulties, i'm going to let them answer this question in full and let you answer another question. i wanted to let you know where we were in terms of time. >> right. that's my last question. >> answer as long as you need to, mr. starr and mr. linick. m. >> thank you, mr. starr. on the question of resources, you are correct. while congress has been very generous with us, i am not going to sit here and say that it is solely a question of resources. every year we look at every post in the world in concert with the emergency action committee, in concert with the intelligence
community, in concert with my threat analysis and the regional bureau's, and we rate those threats for civil disorder, for terrorism, for crime and for a couple of other things. and we rate them critical, high, medium or low threats. those ratings help us determine how to best allocate resources. we start with a base position that every one of our facilities should meet the minimum standards. as as steve pointed out, sometimes we have problems even doing that when we upgrade them as fast as we can and make sure they are there. there are many posts that we have to go far above the minimum standards because because of the nature of the threats. in the case of a car bomb, we're looking for additional set backs or barriers. when it's mom attacks, we may look at additional reinforccem t
reinforcements on the ground. but we look at those threats for every post in a formalized manner every single l year, and i start my day every single morning with a threat roundup and looking at what's out there and make determinations whether or not we need to reinforce or do something at the embassies. that does translate into problems sometimes where we have officers that feel that they can't get out. we often have places where we have to balance getting the job done with an officer's individual security and what the threats are. i think that's a healthy tension. i want foreign service officers that want to get out and want to get the job done. and i was posts looking closely at what the threats are and whether they should get out. at the highest threat level post i think you'll find the officers are frustrateded sometimes. the security that has to be overwhelming and very strong. in the rest of the posts around the world, our people are getting out. our people are engaging. foreign service officers are
building democracy, there's rule of law programs, justice programs. humanitarian programs, and they're fulfilling those requirements. it's a balance and it's a dance, i agree. but it's an important one and the intention is good. >> congressman, this is steve linick. just a couple of comments to add onto that. we haven't looked at the sufficiency of resources, but in other words, does the department know what its resources are? does the the department know what requests are made? do they know how to prioritize across the board? that's really the point of the report that we issued that's referenced -- that's been referenced already. and if the department cannot make a determination as to which projects are high priority, then it's going to be difficult to
solve problems and develop budgets. as to the second question on the benghazi effect, you know, i think ultimately this comes down to good risk management. and the arb, the first recommendation discussed the need for the department to make sure there's a mechanism in place to weigh the policy concerns against risks. one of our recommendations was that this is so important that this should be elevated to the highest levels of the department so that someone who is in a position of weighing policy considerations, namely maintaining presence, in certain have very dangerous areas can make that determination and also be responsible when they have to sign on the dotted line and put people in temporary facilities or in high posts? >> can i just quickly follow up on that last point and then i'll be done. i think the problem when you say take it out to that higher
level, but once you take it up, isn't that person further away from the specific understanding of a given country or a given area? and in some ways if you're going up to someone at the the deputy level, they are more distant from the problem, and in some ways probably less qualified to make the the call on whether or not given action is proper. isn't that one of the reasons the state department is reluck about the to implement that specific recommendation? >> i'm not sure whether or not they've been reluck opportunity to adopt that recommendation. i know they have their risk management system, and i don't know to what extent that answers the question of raising risk management at a higher level. i guess i would say that we know that some of these decisions involve competing interests. at the lower levels you have
your policy folks and security folks. somebody has to this be in charge of reconciling some of these competes interests. we know our policy folks want us to be in places. they want us to be out doing diplomacy. and our security folks want to minimize risk. whether the needs to be something managing those competing interests and then taking responsibility for those. >> caller: thank you very much. and thanks to the the committee for allowing me to speak by phone. >> adam, thanks for participating. take care of yourself and we'll see you in january. with that the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. >> safety is critically important. appreciate what you said in your written testimony. you said we want to keep our people safe. we'll continue doing everything we can to support and protect them. shouldn't be partisan, should it? republican and democrat shouldn't matter. >> i don't think that's a partisan issue.
i've never had a problem with that as an issue. >> i'm just saying these people put their lives on the line. doesn't matter if you're republican, democrat, who you are, where you come from, are the the policies and actions we're putting in place making people safe? >> yes, sir. >> former secretary of state madeline albright said this. my guess is she would refer to any security breach. she said even a score of 99 out of 100 is a failing grade. that's a pretty strong statement. i understand we don't live in a perfect world. we've talked about that. we have to balance diplomacy with security and safety concerns. but i think the tenure of her statement was what we just talked about. safety is critical. it's of paramount importance. we should do all we could to make sure our people are safe. you would agree with that, wouldn't you, mr. starr? >> i need to try to do that, sir, but i -- i will just add one inflection on this, and that
our primary and most important goal st to carry out the foreign policy of the united states. >> i unction. i understand the balance. >> and then while doing that, we have to do everything we can. >> i get it. i get it. you know, mr. starr, the number one i get back home about benghazi, number one question i get, why were we there? why were we there? it seems to me a fundamental question, especially in light of the very dangerous security situation that existed in benghazi and frankly some other key facts. now we've talked about this before, but mr. starr, the state department has its own standards for security. were those followed with the benghazi facility? >> no, sir, they were not met. >> and when you deviate from the standards, there's a waiver process that you're supposed to adhere to. was the waiver process followed? >> i do not believe so, sir, no. >> no. mr. kyle was here a few months ago and said near the standard
nor the waiver process was followed. and the state department has a special designation for the ben gau benghazi facility. isn't that correct? >> temporary mission facility or special mission facility. >> and was this a term created solely to do an end run around the standards and waiver process? >> sir, i don't believe anybody sbeng intentionally tried to run around the standards or waiver process. it was a question for an embassy or consulate. >> if i could, mr. starr, when mr. kyle testified here three months ago, sat right there beside you, gentleman who serveded 23 years in the state department. he said in talking with people, based on my experience, it was a purposesf fufu fuful effort to standards. >> well, i would disagree. >> he has a pretty good record, like you do as well, mr. starr. how many facilities does the state department currently have
around the world? >> 275 embassies, consulates and generals composing approximately 1,000 buildings. >> your website says you have 285 u.s. fa scilities worldwide. is that not accurate? >> 275 b and there approximately -- >> okay, of the 275 or 285, whatever number you want to use, are any of those today designateded temporary mission facility or special mission compound? >> no. >> none of them. >> none. >> which sort of brings me back to my question, mr. starr. what was so important about benghazi that we didn't follow our own standards? we didn't follow the waiver process. we created a term not used in any of the 285 facilities today. special today compound or temporary facility, not designated anywhere else today. what was so important that we do
all that to be in benghazi, we do all that to be in a place where four americans were killed? >> sir, i would have to refer you to the results of the arb, which i think address that. >> no, no. you're the witness from the state department. i'm asking you. >> i was not here when those determinations were made, sir. and today i don't -- today i do not, and we do not have facilities like that. >> i'm asking you as the representative from the state department to tell you what was so important we don't follow the standards, we don't follow the waiver process, we create a new term out of thin air, and we're the united states of america. we have more facilities than any other country in the world, 285, and none of them use that designation today. >> correct. >> so tell me why -- we were in tripoli. why do we have to be in benghazi? >> i would have to refer you to the arb, sir. >> let me add to it. maybe this will help you think about giving us an answer.
in the 13 months prior, there were 230 security incidents in libya. ied, rpg, assassination attempt on the british ambassador. this was the wild west. repeated requests from our security personnel at the facility. we need more help. we need more good guys here. and you guys said nope. in fact, what they had you reduced. probably the most chaotic situation around any of the facilities. don't adhere to the waiver process. why were we there? >> sir, i think the arb points out mistakes were made. >> mr. stark -- >> i think it's very obvious we had a tragedy that occurred, and i'm not djing that a tragedy occurred. >> none of us are denying that. we want answers to it. >> i'm not the witness to tell
you what happened. >> you're the the state department representative at the hearing on the the select committee to find out what happened. the most fundamental question is why were we there in the first place. >> -- put in place since the arb. >> let me ask you another thing here. do you happen to know the the name of the government in place when we had those leading up to this tragedy. do you know the name of the government in place when we had the ied attacks, the assassination attempt on the british ambassador? what was the name of the the libyan government? do you know? >> no, i don't know offhand. >> the transitional national council. transitional national council. not exactly a title that inspires confidence. screams stability, does it mr. starr? and yet we had to this be there. we just had to this be there. now this committee is going to try to find out the answer. since you won't give it to us,
this committee is going to find out an answer. that's the safety of the people that serve aboard. one good thing came out of the arb. one good thing. they said we're going to have a best practices panel. that made 40 recommendations. and the most important is the one mr. linick talked about earlier. the number one recommendation, frankly the one that many of the other 39 hinge upon, says we need to create at the undersecretary level, an undersecretary for diplomatic security. state department going to do that, mr. star? at the undersecretary level? >> a decision has been made not to implement that. >> not going to do that. how many undersecretaries are there at the state department, mr. starr? >> i believe there's seven. >> i think there's six based on the chart you just gave us. undersecretary for political affairs. undersecretary for economic growth and energy and environment. undersecretary for arms control and security affairs.
undersecretarying for management and the undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs. and yet, we can't have an undersecretary for the security of our people who risk their lives every day around this planet? you know the undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, you know what part of the job description of that undersecretary? to foster cultural exchange and international broadcasting. i'm not saying culture exchange and international broadcasting isn't important. all i'm saying is the safety of the people who serve as these 285 facilities should be just as important. and you guys say nope, we're going to keep you way down here, mr. starr. in fact, you're the one diplomatic security assistant secretary, as miss brooks pointeded out, you're way down the chart. why don't you want to move from the kids' table to the adult table, mr. starr? why don't you want to move up to the undersecretary level? did you make that case to secretary kerry and say i think security is important enough i should be at the undersecretary
level? did you make that case? >> the case that i made to the secretary was that in any instansz that i needed to get to this the secretary, and the access i needed with him, the deputy secretary or the substantiate secretary, i had to have the access necessary to do my job. today i have that access. whether i'm an undersecretary or an assistant secretary, and i have been the undersecretary general for safety and security at the united nations, and it's a different organization. i can tell you that regardless of whether i'm the undersecretary or the assistant secretary -- >> i have the control and access i need. >> i will tell you this. i remember thanksgiving was a lot easier to make the adult at the adult table than to try to do it from the kids' table. i would rather be there. in fact, i'm not the one who thinks it's the greatest idea -- i think it's a great idea. but i'm not alone. clear back in 1999 secretary
albright said the same thing. she thought we should have this at the undersecretary level. todd kyle in the best practices panel thought we should have it at the undersecretary level. and the guy sitting beside you thinks we need to elevate this to the highest level. so i guess we got two big question that this committee needs to answer. why in the world won't the state department do what everyone in the world knows needs to this be done? elevate this to the highest that we? make it equal to cultural exchange and international broadcasting, and then the big question again that i hope we get an answer to in this committee. why were we there? why were we there with these facts and circumstances? that's a fundamental question that the the american people want to know and these four individuals, these families who gave their lives would like to know as well. with that i yield back. >> thank the gentleman from ohio. the chair now recognizes ranking member mr. cummings. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. first of all, i would like to thank our witnesses for being
here today. in particular, i want to thank you, secretary starr. i listened to what was just stated and asked, but my what stated. but my concern, and i'm sure it's the concern of the entire committee is when all the dust settles, that the request of every single family member that we met, when the dust settles i hope it's carried out, and that is, that our facilities are safer. so that things are not like this, an unfortunate incident does not happen again. the department's update shows continued strong progress towards full implementation of the arb recommendation. the total elimination of risks is a nonstarter.
for u.s. diplomacy given the need for the united states government to be present and places where stability and security are often most profo d profoundly lacking and host government support is sometimes minimal to nonexistent, end quote. nonetheless, we serve americans serving overseas our best effort to keep them as safe as possible. i want to thank you for dedicating your career to achieving that goal. i have no doubt that you are committed and determined to see the implementation of these recommendations. according to your testimony, since september 17th, that hearing we held that day, the department has closed three more benghazi arb recommendations.
one of the three that you close involves the hiring of additional diplomatic security personnel, is that right? i think that was recommendation number 12? >> yes, sir. >> your october letter said you had filled 120 of those -- 151 newly created slots. do you expect to complete your hiring by early 2015? >> we're on track to do that, sir. >> and what's entailed in that. is it hard to find people or -- >> because we have very high standards and these positions are very technical, we have had difficulties. sir, i would like to point something out. the recommendation was to get increased diplomatic security personnel for high-end critical threat post and for additional security mobile teams. the 151 positions asked for
additional people for positions beyond those two things. we have already created every one of the positions in msd for mobile security teams and at our posts overseas, taken agents that were already on board, filled those positions and those locations, and what we do is back hire now to fill the positions that we took those more experienced agents out and put them there. so, we have fulfilled the recommendation of what it is, even though we continue to hire some additional personnel. >> i see. >> i think we more than fulfilled that recommendation. >> so, you still missing some people, though, because you're moving people. >> right. we're still hiring to fill the people that we put in behind there, although the agents have all been hired. it's a couple technical specialties that we're filling in behind. >> okay. you also close the recommendation related to risk management courses and enhanced threat training for personnel at these high-risk posts. how will this training better prepare our diplomats in
high-threat regions? >> we have increased the foreign affairs counterterror training we offer to our foreign service personnel now, not just our people going to high threat, high risk posts. every one of them has to go through that training. prior to this we did not quite have the capacity to do that. we're now increasing that training to everyone in the entire foreign service over the next four years. additionally, the foreign service institute has put courses in that are complementing our skills-based training. courses like how to conduct diplomacy in a high-threat environment, which trains officers, brings back officers from some of these tough places and shows best practices on how you accomplish your job when you're faced with things like sometimes you can't travel to the ministries. sometimes there's different types of security requirements. so, i think we're addressing it both through skills-based
training on security and in the northern training institute before they go through high-threat environments, how do they best do their job. >> the third recommendation was to procure fire safety equipment at high-threat posts. mr. starr, is that complete? >> it is complete with one exception, sir. i have one post where the equipment is sitting, a specific type of respirator mask is sitting one country away. i'm trying to get it in today and tomorrow to that post and we've had some customs issues. we have delivered the type of equipment and training in conjunction after talking with the new york city fire department and others to all of our high-threat posts around the world. >> would you get us notification when you have completed that one thing you just said? >> i will, sir. >> so, they are receiving the training? everyone has received the
training on it? >> we have worked closely with the fire department and then when we ship the equipment out, there is training on the equipment. other things obo has done in terms of fire safety as well. >> with the closure of those three recommendations, that leaves four recommendations still open, is that right? >> yes, sir. >> your october letter said with a target dates to complete implementation of those final four recommendations. are you on track to complete those recommendations? >> we are on track, sir. the one that will stretch the longest is the implementation of a new type of cct camera at our posts overseas. the technical requirements associated with that have been more difficult than we first envisioned. we have a schedule to do it. i hope to have it done by fall of 2015. i'm leery it might go longer. so, what we're saying is it will absolutely be done by 2016.
>> the other three, when will they be complete? >> i believe the recommendation including co-location waivers will be done within probably two months. recommendation concerning assignment durations for high-threat posts, we have essentially fulfilled that recommendation. we are working with congress to look at something called a dual compensation, so if necessary we can bring back highly talented officers. i believe we can close that recommendation whether or not we get approval for the dual compensation waivers. so, i think we'll have an answer in terms of closing that recommendation within two months as well. and there is one further classified recommendation we're on track to close, but i would prefer not to discuss it in this hearing. >> as i said in our previous hearing, i want to make sure things get done. and so i want you to get back to
us exactly when you expect -- i would like to have that in writing, when you expect these things to be done and provide the committee with that information, because we want to hold you to that, all right? >> as the inspector general has said, there's also going to be a review and a -- of our compliance as well, so it's not only you, sir, the inspector -- >> we'll call it double coverage. >> exactly. and i will get back to you on that. >> mr. starr, representative wes moreland discussed with you 2013 audit that took place before the creation of the high-threat director program at the audit phenomenal some security deficiencies at posts it examined. is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> mr. starr, in our last hearing, the inspector general's office released its 2014 reported on high-threat programs
directorat. one of the inspector general's key findings in that report is that this newly created body was, quote, helped create a culture of share responsibility within the department and has forged strong partnerships with regional security officers and counterparts in regional and functional bureaus as well as within the inner agency community. i think that's an extremely positive finding given the fact that the accountability review board considered the lack of shared responsibility around security issues to be systematic failure just two years ago. mr. starr, could you discuss how you think the creation of the high-threat program has created a culture of shared responsibility and state department? and then my final question, to tell us, how does this culture of shared responsibility that the i.g. praises at our
embassies abroad. >> thank you for the question, congressman. we have addressed this in many different ways. the high threat directat itself, just by the fact that we concentrate on looking every single year at our top 30 posts, the ones that we worry about the most, the vp2 process, the fact that we have written into every senior officer's job description and every officer in the state department, their individual responsibilities for security. the fact that i have officers that are attending the meetings of the regional bureaus every single week, in some cases every single day. and when we are looking at the programs, we are also talking about the security implications, therefore, i think have highlighted the fact that none of us can operate